HIPAA eCommerce

HIPAA Guidelines & Resources for eCommerce

Updated  |  5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Following HIPAA guidelines helps protect the privacy and security of individuals' health information, ensuring compliance with legal requirements.
  • By implementing proper safeguards and controls, eCommerce businesses can prevent unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of sensitive data, fostering trust among customers.
  • Adhering to HIPAA guidelines also mitigates the risk of costly penalties and legal actions resulting from non-compliance.
  • It also enhances the reputation and credibility of the eCommerce site, attracting more customers who prioritize the security of their health information.
  • Following HIPAA guidelines demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding customer data and maintaining the highest standards of privacy and security.

HIPAA-Compliant Website Guidelines

HIPAA-compliant eCommerce is relatively complicated due to ever-evolving HIPAA requirements and the fact that these rules span the technical and the data side of HIPAA eCommerce platforms. It also includes the internal business processes, requiring constant monitoring and validation to ensure the application complies with HIPAA guidelines.

As a result, there are consistent and never-ending auditing requirements to adjust and fine-tune a HIPAA-compliant eCommerce application. The best practices include periodic penetration tests, white-hat hacking, and other forms of testing the software for vulnerabilities. You should also have security audits testing the application and infrastructure to ensure that the data is encrypted at rest. Regulations also require a validation process for auditing and reviewing what people have access to.

We recommend creating a HIPAA-compliant IT checklist with periodic reviews to ensure successful validation of HIPAA compliance relating to an eCommerce site. HIPAA-compliant website requirements are driven by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, Security Rule, Enforcement Rule, and Breach Notification Rule.

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Retain HIPAA audit logs according to the Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act

HIPAA Security Rules

Four different rules make up the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules which are administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Firstly, HIPAA eCommerce platforms must adhere to the HIPAA Security Rule when implementing hardware, which comprises three subsections: Physical Safeguards, Technical Safeguards, and Administrative Safeguards. Each of these subsections has its own requirements. Hiring a HIPAA consultant is the first step to making sure you follow HIPAA standards.

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Safeguard Electronic Protected Health Information

The most common concern regarding ePHI (electronic protected health information) data systems is addressing Technical Safeguards, which can be broken into Access Control, Audit Controls, Integrity Controls, and Transmission Security.

  • Access Control is about controlling who can access the information; in other words, ensuring only authorized users can access ePHI, and keeping unauthorized users out. A HIPAA eCommerce application can essentially lock down the capabilities of interacting with the system if an unauthorized person tries to access it.
  • Audit Controls mean recording and monitoring all activity in information systems that contain or use ePHI. In simple terms, it means keeping a log of each time the system is accessed, with information about the account used, the time, any changes made, and other activity.
  • Integrity Controls relate to ensuring that ePHI is kept accurate and complete, and is not improperly altered or destroyed. Implementing policies, procedures, and electronic measures is a must.
  • Transmission Security regards the technical security measures that safeguard data being transmitted over an electronic network, usually via encryption. Tools such as SSL (secure sockets layer) or TLS (transport layer security) make sure the application is sending data securely and encrypting data even at rest, or while being stored.

HIPAA Audit Logs

HIPAA logging requirements necessitate extensive information system audit logs, including when the data was available, who accessed it, and when it was accessed. HIPAA audit logs also track all changes made to the data, helping keep track of who is responsible for changes and making any internal privacy breach—or user input—easier to solve. 

Keeping HIPAA audit logs can be relatively challenging to do manually. As such, the eCommerce application itself needs to log interactions with the data, ensure that the data is encrypted correctly during transmission, and protect data at rest. Audit controls will be in the hands of a select few employees.

Upgrade to Follow the HIPAA Security Rule

The eCommerce platform must be configured and validated to be compliant. Clarity's eCommerce platform tailored for medical and healthcare practices uses highly regarded and secure measures to perform periodic auditing and reviewing. The software also provides the necessary protection protocols to pass HIPAA eCommerce compliance.

An audit log leaves specific audit trails.

Secure EHR Integration

Ignoring HIPAA regulations can lead to significant fines. Clarity can help make sure you're following proper security procedures.

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Data Management & Accessibility

It's important that medical data and end-users' interactions with it are properly managed. This includes following the HIPAA logging requirements regarding who has access to the data and when. This also applies when a user is no longer using the system and chooses to delete their account. They'll need to have all access to the data rescinded at this point, ensuring that their sensitive data is protected.

This is where more advanced logging of eCommerce platforms can be helpful. You want to make the user interface as friendly as possible for end-users so they can easily remove their information from the system when deleting their account. It's critical that a patient's sensitive health information (EMR/EHR/PHI) is in their hands. 

HIPAA auditors need to be able to see the audit logs to confirm that the best practices were employed to protect data at every point. This is why it's so important that the data is encrypted at rest and during transmission. Otherwise, you could be in breach of HIPAA laws.

HIPAA-compliant websites and portals offer strong access control, making people only able to see limited sets of information based on their user role. This limits what they can log, access, or modify. Centralized administration roles should only be accessible by a select few, and there should ideally be some form of multi-factor authentication or a robust authentication method. These people should also be able to immediately remove a user who has access to the system and wants their account and all their protected health information (PHI) removed.

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Clarity: HIPAA eCommerce Experts

We hope this overview of HIPAA guidelines was helpful. We have more resources linked below and here is our detailed HIPAA-compliant IT checklist.

When looking for a platform or doctor-patient portal for your medical, pharmaceutical, or other healthcare facility, you'll want to closely review these HIPAA compliance development solutions because standards and requirements are constantly in flux as technology advances. Experts must also update security features to ensure that protected information is kept secure. Make sure you're as prepared as possible when creating your HIPAA website.

We encourage you to make sure the team you work with uses the latest security measures available. Clarity specialized in custom EHR integration solutions, including EPIC EMR security options. We would love to help you with this process regarding ongoing product updates, service, and support when it comes to HIPAA and the HIPAA-compliant web hosting that accompanies them.

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HIPAA Compliance Websites Are Challenging

Need help keeping up with the latest HIPAA requirements and the security features needed to comply? Clarity is ready to help.

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The purpose of HIPAA guidelines is to protect the privacy and security of individuals' health information. These guidelines establish standards for the electronic exchange, storage, and transmission of protected health information (PHI) to ensure its confidentiality, integrity, and availability. HIPAA aims to safeguard sensitive health data by regulating how healthcare providers, health plans, and their business associates handle PHI.

The guidelines provide a framework for implementing administrative, technical, and physical safeguards, conducting risk assessments, training employees, and maintaining documentation to achieve compliance and prevent unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of PHI.


Yes, HIPAA does require audit logs. Logging is an essential aspect of HIPAA compliance as it helps to track and monitor access to protected health information (PHI). Covered entities and business associates are required to maintain audit logs that capture information about who accessed ePHI, when it was accessed, and any modifications or disclosures made.

Keeping HIPAA audit logs helps in detecting and investigating security incidents, monitoring compliance with policies and procedures, and identifying potential breaches or unauthorized access. By maintaining comprehensive logs, organizations can demonstrate their adherence to HIPAA requirements and improve their ability to protect the privacy and security of PHI.


HIPAA does not specify specific retention requirements for access logs. However, it is recommended that covered entities and business associates retain access logs for a minimum of six years. Retaining access logs for this duration allows organizations to meet HIPAA requirements for audit trail documentation and facilitates compliance investigations and reporting.

Retaining access logs for an extended period also helps in tracking and identifying potential security incidents or breaches. It is important for organizations to consult with legal counsel and consider other relevant regulations or state laws that may require longer retention periods for access logs.


ECommerce businesses can determine if they are subject to HIPAA by assessing their role and involvement in handling protected health information (PHI). To determine HIPAA applicability, businesses should consider whether they qualify as covered entities (CEs) or business associates (BAs) under HIPAA. CEs include healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses. If an eCommerce business falls into any of these categories, it is likely subject to HIPAA.

Also, if the business provides services or handles PHI on behalf of CEs, it may be considered a business associate. Conducting a thorough evaluation of the nature of the business's activities and the types of data handled will help in determining HIPAA obligations.

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Autumn Spriggle is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures who stays up to date on the latest trends in eCommerce, software development, and related topics to provide readers with the latest and greatest. She strives to help people like you realize the full potential for their eCommerce business.